Tax Reform Punches Down

by Christopher Gerry Graduate school teaches you to accept how much you don’t know. Being a liberal arts college graduate and a current Ph.D. student in chemistry, I know—and gratefully accept—that I’m not an expert in federal tax law. So I initially didn’t imagine that I’d be writing about the tax reform bill that was passed through the House of Representatives earlier this month; that’s … Continue reading Tax Reform Punches Down

Cancer Vaccines: How scientists are turning cancer against itself

by Cathy Gutierrez figures by Lillian Horin “The history of cancer vaccines is a history of failure.” This is the leading sentence of a 2005 article that summarized the history of cancer vaccines. Cancer vaccines have long been the Holy Grail of cancer research. For centuries, scientists have been devising ways to train the body to destroy tumors. Despite the success of early preventive cancer … Continue reading Cancer Vaccines: How scientists are turning cancer against itself

How Our Immune System Causes Heart Attacks (and Cancer)

by Giulia Notarangelo figures by Abagail Burrus A drug that might significantly reduce the risk of heart attack and lung cancer is being hailed by researchers as the biggest breakthrough in the treatment of cardiovascular disease since the introduction of cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins over 30 years ago. Despite the fact that drug companies sell over $30 billion worth of statins annually, roughly 600,000 people still … Continue reading How Our Immune System Causes Heart Attacks (and Cancer)

November 15 – High-Stake Steaks: the science of prions, Mad Cow, and other neurologic diseases

Time: 7-9 p.m., Wednesday, November 15th Location: Armenise Amphitheater at Harvard Medical School, 200 Longwood Avenue, Boston (link to directions) Speakers: Noah Bloch and Vicky Chou For a decade between the mid-1980’s to the mid-1990’s, the outbreak of Mad Cow disease shook up the meat industry and the scientific community. How Mad Cow disease could spread from cow to cow, and from cow to humans puzzled scientists and … Continue reading November 15 – High-Stake Steaks: the science of prions, Mad Cow, and other neurologic diseases

How stress can change your DNA

A first link between chronic stress, genetics, and mental illness has recently observed in mice. Researchers have discovered that the genes of mice exposed to chronic stress change over time. Modifications were most associated with genes related to a variety of mental illnesses, such as depression, autism spectrum disorder, and schizophrenia.1-3 How exactly are genetics, stress, and mental illness related? DNA, serves as instructions for cells and is broken up into … Continue reading How stress can change your DNA

CRISPR 2.0: Genome engineering made easy as A-B-C

CRISPR 2.0 is causing quite the ruckus in the scientific community. Why? Imagine that you had written a note in permanent marker, but later decided you wanted to change a single word. Without the ability to erase, your options would be limited, and further changes might make the note illegible. New CRISPR technologies, or “base editors,” behave as molecular erasers. These molecular erasers enable you to very precisely … Continue reading CRISPR 2.0: Genome engineering made easy as A-B-C

November 8 – This Is How We Do It: From Sex Evolution to Sex Education

Time: 7-9 p.m., Wednesday, November 8th Location: Armenise Amphitheater at Harvard Medical School, 200 Longwood Avenue, Boston (link to directions) Speakers: Michael Miyagi and Malinda McPherson At first glance, it seems like we all know what sex is. But there are many scientific subtleties to sex. In this lecture we will begin by providing an evolutionary context for sex, probing why sex drive is so strong and important, … Continue reading November 8 – This Is How We Do It: From Sex Evolution to Sex Education